NOR vs SIN, 25th Match, National T20 Cup 2020, 14 Oct 2020

(20 ov)
(20.0 ov)

Sindh won by 25 runs

Azam Khan punished Northern with a belligerent batting charge while skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed supported him with an elegant half-century as Sindh registered a comprehensive 25-run triumph.

The dominant victory ensures Sindh have become the third team to qualify for the semi-finals alongside table-toppers Northern and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Northern had begun proceedings on a rather high note with Mohammad Amir removing the consistent Khurram Manzoor early in the fray.

Sharjeel Khan and Saud Shakeel were then forced to depart in quick succession, necessitating a timely partnership to rescue the team from sliding into dire straits.

The worst-case scenario was averted by young Azam in emphatic style as he unleashed a breathtaking boundary-laden display to thump the opposition.

Azam's meaty strokes were drenched with brute force and unbridled aggression as he routinely opted for the aerial route and succeeded in clearing the boundary fence with ease.

Azam swatted a total of eight maximums with several of those sixes coming from his trademark slog sweep against the spinners.

The 22-year-old's merciless onslaught only finished in the 19th over when he ended up skying a bouncer to the wicketkeeper off the bowling of Amir.

“I feel an innings was due on me. I have been struggling to convert my starts into big scores. The plan now is to continue to play like this in the upcoming matches," he said while reflecting on his 43-ball 88.

“Some boundaries early on provided me the desired confidence then Saifi bhai [Sarfaraz Ahmed] gave me a lot of support and confidence after he joined me in the middle. That I have had a few partnerships with him in the HBL Pakistan Super League 2020 also helped.”

Azam and Sarfaraz's superb stand lasted 9.2 overs as the two plundered 130 runs at a rapid rate. Sarfaraz reached his personal milestone of 50 runs on the last ball of the innings when he smashed a huge six off Musa Khan to help Sindh post 221-4.

Northern's chase was marked by a lack of positive intent from the start since openers Umar Amin and Zeeshan Malik failed to find the boundary fence regularly to keep up with the cumbersome asking rate.

Although the duo added 116 runs for the first wicket, it came at the cost of eating away 76 deliveries. Haider Ali and Shadab Khan then tried to ambitiously keep Northern on course for an improbable triumph but they were always behind in the stiff task. They ultimately finished with 196-6 in reply to Sindh's mammoth score.

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